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A Hollywood stuntman who works as a getaway driver by night is lured from his isolated life by a lovely neighbor and her young son. His newfound pace is shattered when a heist goes terribly wrong. On paper, Drive sounds like your typical action/revenge flick. Don't be fooled. It's so much more. For those who expect an insane action film will surely be disappointed with the results. Drive focuses primarily on the main character and his mission to set things right. There's quite a bit of buildup, but it's never slow or dull. The dialogue is well-written and the pacing is razor sharp. This script is so tense that I found myself on the edge of my seat multiple times. Drive is not the average modern revenge story. It's a throwback holding the tone of films from the 1970s to the 1990s. I was very interested by the trailers, but never expected such a multi-dimensional film.
The biggest reason why mainstream audiences will check out Drive is for Ryan Gosling. It feels as if the lead character was written for him. Even though the most nerve-wracking situations, his character remains calm and collected. The character doesn't talk a lot, but Gosling expresses perfection. His stare alone as he drove is enough to draw the audience in and not let go. I was already a fan of Gosling's past performances, but he gained a lot of respect from me for this performance. The entire cast does a good job with the roles, but Ryan Gosling clearly steals the show here.
As previously mentioned, Drive doesn't feel like a movie made in the 2000s. It's very heavily influenced by the methods of the 1970s to the 1990s. The atmosphere is gritty as the tone alone proves to be a character all its own. Drive is a brutal film. However, it's never unnecessary and the brutality is incorporated within the story line. The visuals can easily be described as art. There are drawn-out sequences of Gosling simply staring towards the road as he drives. His covert emotions leave the audience not able to do much more than infer the state of his mind. These scenes are executed extremely well. When it comes to the action, the drive sequences are undeniably satisfying. Instead of being predictable and constantly having cars exploding, the tension is used to large measures.
I couldn't have been more pleased to spend the $9.50 admission price. Drive is worth every penny of it. I don't see this film being a mainstream hit, but it will thrive among cinema lovers. This movie could have easily turned out to be a cliché, but the execution was the key. The combination of the dialogue and the great performance by Ryan Gosling truly make this worth seeing. Drive will end up being one of my favorite movies of 2011. Hopefully the Academy recognizes its greatness. I can't possibly recommend this high enough to those wishing to see excellent cinema. A definite must-see!